How Long Do Inner Lip Tattoos Last?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on August 12, 2019
    Last Updated: January 14, 2021

It’s common knowledge that tattoos are permanent forms of body art, and for the most part, they are.

If you’re looking for something that will stand the test of time, though, you might be disappointed to learn how long lip tattoos last in general. These tattoos definitely have an expiry date, and it may be sooner than you think.

If you’re set on having a secret tattoo inside your mouth, prepare yourself for regular touch-ups and maintenance. Here is everything you need to know about how long these tattoos last, and the best way to look after them in order to prolong their life.

How Long Do Inner Lip Tattoos Last on Average?

You can expect your lip tattoo to last for between 1 and 5 years. The short life of an inner lip tattoo comes down to the rapid regeneration of mucosal cells that line the area. The rapid turnover of these cells means the ink is shed at a much faster rate.

Due to the short lifespan of a lip tattoo, you will need to have regular top-ups to keep it in good condition. If you do not maintain it in this way, then it will continue to fade and eventually disappear. Unless, of course, the short lifespan is the main attraction for you.

An inner lip tattoo may be the perfect chance to get a tattoo of something you’re unsure of. Not only is it hidden from the naked eye but you won’t have to worry about it being there forever.

What Can Determine How Long a Lip Tattoo Lasts for?

Lip tattoos are not permanent and will always fade over time. This will happen sooner if it’s not cared for or topped up. There are a number of different factors that contribute to the length of time a lip tattoo lasts. Most of these factors are natural and result from the unique environment in our mouths.

Quickly Regenerating Mouth Cells

The first factor that determines the lifespan of a lip tattoo is the nature of the cells that make up the inside of our mouths. The cells in our mouths are mucosal cells. What makes mucosal cells so unique is that they regenerate at a very high speed.

Due to such a high rate of regeneration, lip tattoos heal very quickly. Traumas that usually takes up to three weeks to heal on other areas of the body will only take three days in the mouth.

This speedy regeneration of mouth cells means that tattoo ink cannot hold in the same way that it does in other parts of our body.

Ink Depth

A tattoo will generally last longer if the ink is inserted into the skin at the right level. A skilled tattoo artist positions the ink at the correct depth to help extend the life of a tattoo. If the ink is placed too close to the surface of the skin, it is easier for the body to attack and break up.

As lip tattoos already have a short life span, try to find an experienced tattoo artist to do your tattoo. If the tattoo is well executed, then it is likely to last longer. Also, consider that inner lip tattoos are not very common. It is, therefore, better to go with an artist who already has some experience working in this area.

Acidic & Moist Environment

Another factor that reduces the lifespan of inner lip tattoos is that the mouth is acidic and moist. Not only are the cells within the mouth very quick to regenerate, but the mouth is full of chemicals and acids. The acids that are present in the mouth break down the ink of the tattoo faster, causing it to fade.

Our saliva also makes the mouth a very moist and damp place. It is hardly surprising then, to learn that this environment is not the best for tattoos. The overall lifespan and health of a tattoo are better on hydrated skin, which is not exposed to a great deal of water or abrasion.

Aftercare Tips

Aftercare is important for the health and healing of any tattoo, regardless of its location. Lip tattoos require special care to heal properly. This care differs from the standard healing advice you might have been given for other tattoos. The level of aftercare you give your lip tattoo will affect the length of time that it will last.

Your tattoo artist should give you some advice about how best to care for the tattoo to promote healing. This will likely include foods you should avoid, as well as ways to keep the tattoo site dry. Ensure you follow their advice carefully and ask about anything you feel unsure of.

We also have a couple of tips to help with aftercare and boost the time your tattoo will last.

Fast & Rinse

Directly after your tattoo has been finished you should avoid eating or drinking anything. Your tattoo artist should let you know how long you should fast for. The length of time will vary depending on the size of the tattoo as well as your skin type and general health.

If you are a smoker, you should still be able to have a cigarette. However, if you do smoke during the fasting period, make sure that you rinse your mouth out afterwards. This will help to prevent an infection from developing around the tattoo site.

Fight Infection

Due to the location of lip tattoos, there is a much higher risk of infection compared to other areas. This is because the mouth is full of bacteria. In order to prevent an infection, you can use an alcohol-free mouthwash.

Use this to rinse your mouth, following every drink, meal, or cigarette. With that said, using an alcohol-free mouthwash will not guarantee an infection won’t develop. What it will do though, is reduce the possibility of harmful bacteria getting onto your tattoo.

How long lip tattoos last is directly related to the unique environment in our mouths. You can help your new ink last longer by keeping the area clean, bacteria-free, and as dry as possible.

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